Veteran Irish journalist Vincent Browne presented the late-night political talk show Tonight with Vincent Browne on what was then TV3 from 2007 to 2017 (the programme is now The Tonight Show hosted by Ivan Yates and Matt Cooper on Virgin Media One). His famously waspish and curmudgeonly demeanour permitted him to adopt a technophobic persona, dismissing the considerable (almost cult) online following as “the twitter machine” (the twitter hashtag was #vinb; from small beginnings, it grew to become a vital part of the show; and nostalgia still drives some traffic).
Those halcyon days of Irish political twitter came back to me reading a review of Richard Seymour’s The Twittering Machine (Indigo Press, 2019) by Peter Conrad in The Observer the weekend before last. Here are some extracts, which give a sense of the review and a flavour of the book, as well as an explanation both of the book’s title and of the Klee painting (above left):
A stark polemic argues that social media may have unleashed an age of nihilism from which there is little hope of escape
Technology, as Richard Seymour says, always boasts of possessing superhuman powers, which is why it arouses our wary paranoia.